15 Ways to Boost Your Confidence in Your Writing: Kill the Doubt

Stop Doubting Your Ability to Write

The first blog post I had ever written for this blog scared me senseless. I knew the material after years assisting Expert Authors and leading an incredible group of editors, but that first post … I stared a blank screen. I wrote a few lines, deleted them, wrote a few lines, deleted them, and continued repeating the cycle. I checked email and caught up on a few other projects. When Penny hinted at my approaching deadline for it, I finally locked the door to my office and churned out one of the worst drafts I’ve likely ever written in my life.

But that’s okay! It’s just the first draft, so who cares?! The first draft is always the toughest, but it didn’t defeat me and it certainly doesn’t have to defeat you. Through confiding in Penny and getting feedback from other writers, it dawned on me, like many of you may have experienced when you began writing or are experiencing right now:

It’s not your skills getting in the way of your first draft. It’s your confidence in your writing that’s holding you back.

Here are 15 ways you can give your writing confidence a shot in the arm to get through any period of doubt and back into the writing saddle.

15 Ways to Boost Your Confidence in Your Writing

  1. Read: Besides the obvious keeping the pulse on the world and expanding your knowledge base, reading is like immersing yourself in the laboratories of other writers. You learn their discoveries, shadow their experiments, and can use that knowledge to experiment in your own writing as well.
     
  2. Write Every Day: In a journal, spend at least 10 minutes every day free writing – ignore spelling, grammar, or even staying on topic; write whatever is on your mind for 10 minutes. This will help pave the way to write more throughout your day.
     
  3. Write with Abandon: In the film world, the “one take wonder” is an incredibly rare thing. Altering this and that, film crews shoot take after take to get what they need. The same is true for writing. You will not have the perfect draft on the first take. Let your first draft be terrible and improve upon it later.
     
  4. Understand the Language: Often the most intimidating part of writing is grammar and style. Treat grammar like a skill you would acquire for any trade: understand the technicalities (such as apostrophes and rein in ellipses), develop your style, and find your tone.
     
  5. Be Reasonable: Don’t write as fast as you can to “get it over with.” You’ll only stunt your growth. You know the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Take your time with your writing, so you can grow. You’ll improve your speed as you improve your skill set.
     
  6. Re-Motivate: Feel like you’ve gone so far off your original path that you lack the motivation to write? Was it to help others? Was it to share your enthusiasm? Go back to the source and find the real reason why you began writing. Alternately, your reasons for writing may have changed over time – whatever it is find out why you want to write and renew your passion for writing.
     
  7. Connect With People: Avoid isolating yourself and gain a support network – whether composed of other writers or simply those who support you in your writing endeavors. Use the creative energy that you gain from reaching out to other people and feed it into your writing.
     
  8. Be Open to Feedback: Many writers cringe at the idea of submitting their precious work for a critique. Find someone you trust (who will be unbiased and honest) to provide suggestions for improvement as well as what they liked or disliked.
     
  9. Talk About It: Tell friends, family, peers, and even your fans about your current writing projects. Get their input and more importantly, share your enthusiasm. This will help you believe in your writing. That said, know when it’s time to stop talking and start writing.
     
  10. Be Okay With the Flow: Writers often get a bad reputation for being wildly exuberant or compulsively frenetic. Go with your flow. If you go through crazy productive streaks of writing, then ride it. Just remember to get out and connect with others to avoid isolation.
     
  11. Think of Editing Positively: Writers will often treat editing like they’re sending their article to the dentist to drill and fill dozens of cavities. Treat editing like you’re sending the article to the spa: a massage for formatting, a manicure for the introduction, a pedicure for the conclusion, etc.
     
  12. Improve Your Focus: If you can’t sit down without distractions, it may be possible that you are perpetuating those distractions. Identify those habits that steal your time and then adjust your routine. Accommodate the distraction (such as schedule 10 minutes to check your email before you sit down to write) or eliminate it altogether.
     
  13. Believe You Can Write: You can be your worst critic. Stop beating yourself up each time you hit a writing roadblock. Cultivate your skills, find the right tools, and get feedback, but above all: believe in your ability to write. You’re not going to succeed in writing unless you believe you can.
     
  14. Write What You Love: There’s the old adage, “Write what you know,” but what if what really makes you want to passionately write for hours on end is based on discovering what you don’t know? Toss that old cliché. Write about what motivates you and interests you because that passion will help you build confidence in your writing.
     
  15. Overcome the Fear: What are you waiting for? Publish your articles. There’s that moment before you hit submit, where risk and reward intermingle. Our IT developers here call it “The Fear.” When you’ve crossed all of your t’s and dotted your i’s, but you still have that hairy feeling like you missed something. It’s better to take the risk and try than to never submit. Once you’ve developed a process and a rapport with your editors, it gets much easier.

Bonus! Use Article Templates: Staring at a blank page and not knowing where to start can dampen your spirits. If you need help with a writing idea or you’re not sure what type of content structure you should use, writing prompts like the Article Templates improve your spirits immensely.

Have you ever struggled with your writing confidence? How did you get through it? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

28 Comments »


1

Good comments Vanessa, some new points there I’d not thought about before. I like to throw down any new ideas as draft posts. Some of these will get fleshed out into a true “new draft”, others might get superceeded by other ideas or articles and deleted. Means that I’ve always got something to act as inspiration on my quiet days.

Comment provided February 24, 2014 at 11:12 AM

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2
Yogendra Sharma writes:

Mind blowing writing tips. You explained all the terms very deeply. Impressed. :)

Comment provided February 24, 2014 at 11:52 AM

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3
Brittany writes:

Fantastic article! I enjoy how you gave insightful twists on conventional wisdom: writing what you love and getting to know it, instead of limiting yourself to what you know. You acknowledged the importance of having a social network as a writer; isolation kills creativity and productivity.

Comment provided February 24, 2014 at 12:18 PM

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4
Mahi Arora writes:

thank you sharing this is very good article.

Comment provided February 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM

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5
Gail D. Maslack writes:

I always love the info I get. It is concise and has great value!! Keep it coming and I will continue to follow :-)

Comment provided February 24, 2014 at 1:04 PM

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6
Neetu Ralhan writes:

Loved it. Thanks!

Comment provided February 24, 2014 at 9:55 PM

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7

Wow! Great tips and encouragement. The feelings are familiar and experienced by all authors when they begun their first article or story or book. It’s a universal phenomenon.

Comment provided February 25, 2014 at 12:25 AM

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8
Matthew Morris writes:

I have tried to convince several colleagues that they should write about the topics they are knowledgeable in. To date, none has had the confidence to try.

Comment provided February 25, 2014 at 4:07 PM

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9
Claudia Schmidt writes:

Great tips! Thanks for this, I need to print it out and put it up on my bulletin board for those days when I really need it.

Comment provided February 25, 2014 at 7:56 PM

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10
Jen writes:

Fantastic advice. I pinned this post so I can go back and revisit it when I need a boost. Thank you!

Comment provided February 25, 2014 at 8:15 PM

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Great plan, Jen!

~Vanessa

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11
Jennifer Steck writes:

Have you been reading my mind? I love your list and will be printing it out to put by my computer. Thanks for the encouragement.

Comment provided February 25, 2014 at 8:29 PM

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Glad to hear, Jennifer! And yes I have been reading your mind. ;)

~Vanessa

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12
emily writes:

Gladly enjoyed reading this article. the information in to the point and well put.

Comment provided February 27, 2014 at 4:40 AM

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13
Irma Cowthern writes:

Thank you for sharing.

Comment provided February 27, 2014 at 5:49 PM

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14
Akhil writes:

Thanks for sharing………awesome advice

Comment provided February 28, 2014 at 11:21 AM

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15
Ruth Sokel writes:

Great tips. I have been discouraged with my writing for some time and really have not had positive feedback. Your tips are very helpful.

Comment provided March 3, 2014 at 7:41 AM

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Hi Ruth,

The fact that you are here and are learning and commenting speaks volumes!

I see you have one live article already and have recently submitted another. That is fantastic!

Writing will never become easy, but it will get easier once you practice daily (if that makes any sense) ;)

Keep up the great work,
Vanessa

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16
Traci Krites writes:

15 great ways!! Thanks for the tips!!

Comment provided March 9, 2014 at 3:10 PM

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17
Deepak writes:

i am Impressed. :)
You have Mind blowing writing tips. i Loved the way You explained all the terms very deeply.

Comment provided March 11, 2014 at 2:33 AM

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18
Abba Elijah writes:

Thanks a lot for this informative and explanatory article.
i have been having issue with my writing but with your help through this article . i now know i can be the best even in writing.
Thanks oh….

Comment provided March 11, 2014 at 3:42 PM

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19
osama ibrahim writes:

Thanks for the tips!!

Comment provided March 12, 2014 at 5:45 PM

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20
Zara Smith writes:

nice tips Great article….

Comment provided March 14, 2014 at 2:05 AM

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21

Vanessa, You the WOMAN!!!!
Great article, I needed this information in bad way. Presently I’am working web content for my webpage. This and writing blogs is all that is left before going live. I must confess something to you. I have dyslexia. I’am very ashamed of my writing skills. My grammar and punctuation is something is causing great amount of anxiety within myself and that holding be back. I,am giving a great deal of thoughts of purchasing some type of grammatical software the only correct my content but edited and proofread it as well.

But either case i will print this suggestion and follow it to the letter to get over my fear and practice to overcome my grammatical disabilities.

Otis A.

Comment provided March 22, 2014 at 2:57 AM

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22
Randall Magwood writes:

To boost your confidence, become a SUPER expert in your niche. Learn everything there is to know about the niche and the issues that lie within the niche, and let all of this information flow in your writing. No templates or anything. This will make you a more confident writer.

Comment provided March 31, 2014 at 6:02 PM

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23
Hazel writes:

Touche. Solid arguments. Keep up the good work.

Comment provided April 1, 2014 at 12:17 AM

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24
A.R. Kassel writes:

Lots of good bullet points.
Thanx for listing them in one blog.

Comment provided February 6, 2015 at 10:53 AM

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25
Fasina opeyemi writes:

Good one, writing requires a lot of things to be successful in it. All those qualities are needed to wrote very well

Comment provided March 26, 2015 at 6:48 AM

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